With 981 amateur football leagues in the UK, including both youth and adult teams, amateur football is a hugely popular hobby. It may come as no surprise to you that more than 1.9 million people in England reported playing football at least twice a month in 2020. 

Whilst football might be the most popular team sport, there’s a variety of sports leagues around the UK. From more than 700 cricket teams competing in 20+ leagues, to 106 rugby union leagues with further rugby league leagues, traditional group sports still hold a lot of interest nationally. 

There are a host of further sports leagues involving less-common and newer sports, including national roller derby leagues, ice hockey leagues, volleyball leagues, and even quidditch leagues.

For people to be able to participate in all of these varied sports, leagues or clubs need to exist to organise training and matches. Running a league or club can take a lot of organisation and time, however, it can be hugely rewarding.

Sports League Management

Setting up and running a league can be a daunting task, and even taking over pre-existing league management comes with its own challenges. Whether it’s a netball league or a kabaddi league you’re looking to run, many of the steps involved will be similar.

Initial start-up tasks:

  • Sourcing teams and players - Without players and teams, a league can’t run, make sure player registration is something you focus on initially.

  • Managing finances - Sourcing the initial funds to set up the league can be challenging. Consider sponsorship as well as up-front payment costs from participants to cover initial costs.

  • League officials - Appointing administrators and officials is important to ensure smooth running from the start.

  • Insurance - Make sure you are legally covered for public liability and personal accidents.

Tasks required for running the league moving forward:

  • Fixture scheduling and organisation - This can be a colossal task depending on the number of teams in your league and the geographical area you cover.

  • Statistics - Keeping track of results from matches/games and collating this information in one place including updated team positions.

  • Finding a suitable location/locations - You may aim to run your league from one location with all fixtures taking place there, or you may utilise several venues/pitches throughout a season. 

  • Kit and equipment sourcing - Whilst you may decide that certain equipment should be provided by the sports teams, it’s not feasible for teams to bring everything with them. Consider what you will need to provide, where to source it, as well as where to store it when not in use.

Sports league software can be a useful tool to help your league run smoothly, as it can manage all aspects of the process in one place. League management software contains a variety of features to save time and effort.

basketball American football and clipboard

What is Sports League Software?

Sports league software is a type of sports management software that allows teams and leagues to manage their games and organisation all in one place. The most popular features included in all basic products are:

  • Member online registration management and membership list maintenance

  • Game organisation assistance tools

  • Member communication and management solutions

  • Payment management system

  • Caters to youth sports organisations and amateur sports organisations

By utilising team management software sports league organisations can massively reduce their time spent on administration and improve their overall efficiency. Online sports management using league software can give you the upper hand.

What Types of Sports Management Software Are There?

Different types of club management software come with a variety of league management tools, with some more suited to your needs than others. Read more about the different types below.

Fixture management tools

By using fixture management software sports matches can be easily coordinated automatically, including the option to allocate referees and event locations to fixtures. Automatically generating the allocation of competing teams saves time in planning your fixture list whilst ensuring matches are organised in a fair way. Whether your league involves water-based sports, indoor sports, or is an outdoor-based sports league, organise and book your venues using comprehensive management software to save you time and hassle. 

Membership management software

All your membership information, the signup process, fee collection, and player statistics can all be collected and stored using a quality league management solution. Create custom forms online that link directly from your website for inputting player information, making it easier to store and view the profiles in the future. 

Club management software that sorts listings for players can be configured to display best times, previous fixture results, and other player-specific information. 

Fees are essential for funding both clubs and leagues, so a sports management system with an integrated payment option can be very useful.

With volunteers involved in many sports events and clubs, volunteer management tools integrated into your software can help you keep track of all the volunteers associated with your organisation.

Communication tools

Online sports organisation management applications can be used as a communication platform globally, allowing teams and players based all around the world to get in touch to discuss fixtures, exchange tips and learn from each other, whilst building relationships from wherever they are. 

The right sports team management platform will allow you to communicate directly with players and teams as needed, to allow easy organisation of events and matches as well as to answer queries and to follow up on issues.

Sport-specific software

Some organisations prefer to opt for software that is tailored to their niche. Key features with this type of software include options useful to certain sectors that might not be relevant to include in a more general type of software, such as swimming apps that include not only your competitive times but also your practice lap times using underwater technology.

Sport-specific options currently on the market include those targeted towards swimming, cricket, gyms, sports camps, football, ultimate frisbee, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, and many more.

Marketing tools

Creating awareness about your league or team is an essential part of its success; without teams and players, there are no sports and no money to pay for running costs. 

Marketing gets your league out there, whether that’s running adverts on third-party websites, driving traffic to your site, or email marketing to targeted individuals, it’s difficult to stay on top of. 

With the right software, sports fanatics can be targeted automatically and contacted regarding joining your organisation, using the information you’ve already collected that the application has stored. 

Sports league software that creates coupons and vouchers to entice interested parties to join can really boost signups. Certain options don’t even require pre-existing information and can target suitable customers using their browsing history.

tennis racket, basketball, cogs

How to Choose the Sports League Software That’s Right for You

With hundreds of software options available, the choice can be overwhelming and it can be hard to work out which choice is the right one for your organisation.

When considering what to opt for, some things to consider include:

  • Sport-specific vs generic - With some applications targeted to one specific sport, this may have specific tools or options that you’d like included and can’t find elsewhere. 

However, more specialised apps may have fewer of the other features you’d like included.

  • Customer service - When you’re signing up for a service that represents your brand, you want to know that there’s help on hand if anything goes wrong. Even the best software can run into issues, so knowing the team that’s there to support you can solve the issue is important when deciding which option to choose.

  • Company and product reviews - When you’re signing up for a service that represents your brand, you want to know you are getting quality. By the time you’ve signed up and integrated the software into your site, it’s too late to research the reputation of the company and the quality of a product.

Find out as much about the product as possible before you buy; poorly-functioning software is a definite way to put people off joining your league. The best way to do this is to read online reviews.

  • Custom vs off-the-shelf - Off the shelf software may be initially cheaper, as they often have pay-monthly options. 

These products are ready to go from the moment you pay and can be used immediately, which can be helpful if you’re in a hurry to get started. 

Custom software is made to measure and can have as many or few features as you’d like. However, there is a higher start-up cost and time is required in the development stage.

Custom Sports League Software

If you’re looking for software that meets all your specifications without the complication of unnecessary features, custom software could be the answer. 

Whilst start-up costs are a little higher, without monthly fees a custom option will save you money down the line. The software can be modified to meet your needs as you change and grow, so you will never be stuck using outdated technology.

If you’ve decided a custom option is the best fit for your organisation, Laracle can help.

We’re a software development company that produces bespoke software to our clients’ specifications, suited to a variety of budgets and needs.

Our products can be fully integrated with external software and are totally bespoke to you. You retain ownership of the software with no need for monthly fees.

To hear more about what we can do for your organisation, contact us today.

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